I don’t have a favorite movie. Period.

OK first things first, I’m a movie lover, the movie maniac, Mr. Never-wanna-grow up movie nerd whose area of interest is movies and movies alone. And this post is gonna be a long ass one with nothing other than a lotta personal brags. I’ve been hooked to movies for like since times I can’t remember, watching all those movies in Star Movies, HBO, all those sit-coms in Star World, Z Cafe etc. I used stalk all the VHS and later the CD/DVD libraries when I was young, going through the racks to find movies with interesting names and jacket pics to watch. I still remember some of those names, The Matrix [watched it over umpteen times on the VHS alone!], Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T, Back to the Future trilogy, Tora Tora Tora, Gods Must Be Crazy, The Exorcist,  several Chinese martial arts movies, The Mask, Indiana Jones trilogy, those countless Chucky/Friday The 13th series of scary flicks and so on. There were also those direct to VHS/CD movies like Matrix 2: The New World, Terminator 2: Ultimate Terminator etc. which were the unofficial cheap B-grade look alike with soft porn [my first ever unofficial encounter with porn happened then too I guess].

I kept on watching these along with all the usual Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi flicks. My favorite movies during those times were Matrix and Back To The Future trilogy as I had personal copies of them. Later CDs came to the world with such awesome looks and beautiful CD jackets tat made me adore them. Around that time dad bought me some titles like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Romeo+Juliet, Home Alone 1&2 and Full Monty. By that time we had ditched the VHS players and switched to CDs. I kept watching them again and again that I could repeat the dialogues along with the characters. CDs made life easier with lesser worries of movies getting lost due to fungus attacks and broken tapes. My favorite movie of that period was ACE VENTURA, I simply loved Jim Carrey and the things he could do.

Then came the era of DVDs in those long thin boxes with crisp video, Dolby/DTS audio, extra features and golden coloured disc bottoms. I still have my first DVDs, ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl’, the pirated kind which cost me 500 bucks. And here comes the best thing that ever happened to me, DivX. A compression algorithm that made possible to compress huge DVDs to varying sizes from 700MBs for backups and computer playback without heavy loss in quality. My cousin had a friend, Vinod, who had asked me for my CD-Writer which was quite rare around that time. I told him that I couldn’t lend it but I didn’t mind him bringing over his data to my place and burning them. I still remember that day when he brought those movies in his 40GB hard disk; Desperado, Seven, Bridge on the River Kwai and 5 Jackie Chan movies. I was stunned to see the quality, the subtitles, the file size and what not! He agreed to leave the HDD with me for a day and right after he left I started copying the Jackie Chan movies one after the other to my Hard Disk. I decided to watch Desperado and the others before copying them as I was not sure of the movies. I started with Desperado. 1 hour and 44 minutes. I was literally BLOWN away! Action, style, story line, colour tone, music, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, the guns, the knives, the booze, the mean bar-tenders and the lavish explosions. I made up my mind about something right then. My favorite movie? DESPERADO.

I kept watching it over and over, checking out the details, dialogues and action. Internet was around by that time and I was online for hours straight surfing through all those do-yourself science experiments, anime websites and so on. Post-Desperado my online life has been dedicated to movies, particularly Desperado, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Hollywood, Script-o-Rama, IMDb etc. I learned that Desperado is the remake of a low-cost Spanish flick by Rodriguez himself, El Mariachi. I went in search of it and found a link to a torrent [which I downloaded some years later with my broadband connection]. By that time Vinod had flooded my movie collection with a considerable number of beautiful flicks by directors I had no clue about. David Lean, Akira Kurasawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles, David Fincher, Giuseppe Tornatore and so on. I couldnt sit through some of them at the time though I enjoyed most of them over and over in the later years. One movie I particularly enjoyed watching over and over and topped my immediate-favorite-movie list was CINEMA PARADISO.

It was a year later when I found that a video library at Trivandrum had DivX movies on their rent-list at 10 bucks per movie. And then began my Saturday adventures where I would go to Trivandrum [without telling my folks] in search of movies, and this library had around 800 divx movies! I asked them for a photocopy of their list, came back home, looked up all those movies on IMDb and made a to-rent list. By then Asianet had blessed me with a Nightbird connection where I could download all night at 32kbps. Movies kept topping my favorites list one after the other. Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The GodFather, Oldboy, Psycho, Hazaron Kwaishen Aisi, D, Sarkar, Amores Perros, Kannathil Muthamittal, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Requiem for a Dream, The Shining, The Doors, all those con-game movies, Guy Ritchie movies, Woody Allen movies, David Fincher movies, Quentin Tarantino mad-movies, Kevin Smith movies and so on.

Now I find it extremely difficult to answer it when someone asks me, “So which is your favorite movie?” I don’t have a specific answer. I just give them the random movie name that come up to my mind then. For example if someone asked the question now, I would answer, it’s a Marathi movie, ‘Vihir: The Well’ by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, which I saw at the International Film Festival of Kerala ’10, once and just once. I can definitely give a list of my favorite directors, but movies?… mmm… its hard. I can go bragging on and on when it comes to my favorite movies. Need more proof? Mail me at ilivetowatchmovies@gmail.com 😀


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